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Consider the chord motion in Lights's "Cactus In The Valley" that… - Notes from a Medium-Sized Island [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Sep. 24th, 2016|10:41 am]

Consider the chord motion in Lights's "Cactus In The Valley" that happens around 49s in:
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| F  G C C | F  G C C | F  G Am D7  | F  G Csus C
| IV V I I | IV V I I | IV V vi II7 | IV V Isus I
  wipe...    show...    if my...      tell...

There's something about that sudden dropping by a fifth after a three-chord walk-up that I really like. It feels like... reconsidering, or like someone turning around to face the camera somehow on a cinematic beat.

Reminds me of a similar thing (except with the IV-V-vi walk-up replaced by a vi-V-I) that happens in Beethoven's Piano Concerto 5 in Eb op 73 where it does
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| G#m F# B E  | B/F# F# G#m G#m | G#m F# B E  | B/F# F# B Em ...
| vi  V  I IV | I/V  V  vi  vi  | vi  V  I IV | I/V  V  I iv ...

and also in a slightly more rhythmically obscured form in Homestuck's "Showtime", and a second time if you count the relative minor as counting the same:
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| Cm Bb Eb Eb | Ab Eb Bb G   | Cm Bb Eb Eb | Fm G   Cm Cm ...
| vi V  I  I  | IV I  V  III | vi V  I  I  | ii III vi vi ...


And while I'm in the chord-analyzey mood, I never before really sat down and thought about what's the mechanism going on in, like, uplifting trance tunes, e.g. Ultimate's "If We Were", that makes them sound like they're going somewhere but not ever quite getting there? The pattern seems to be
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| B  D#m C# C# | ...
| IV vi  V  V  | ...

So no wonder! It spends fully half the song on the dominant, and you NEVER HEAR THE TONIC EVER. That's so weird! But somehow makes complete sense. Because how else could you analyze this? Consider it in B and have I-iii-II-II? Consider it in C# mixolydian and get bVII-ii-I-I? D#m and VI-i-VII-VII??? No way. The Ockam's razor solution is IV-vi-V-V and it sounds right besides, those C# pulling dominant-seventhily towards something... but you always start over on the IV.